The stakes don’t get any bigger: the top national teams in the Americas, competing for two berths in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
And what better way for the top-ranked Canadian National Team to chase their dream than by competing on home soil, at Softball City in Surrey, Aug. 25 to Sept. 1!
For the national team, it will be very much a home-coming, as seven of the 15 roster positions are occupied by British Columbians – while the other team members have a long-term affinity with this ball park and its passionate fans.
The Canadian roster also features three Beijing 2008 Olympians – Danielle Lawrie (Langley, B.C.), Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.) and Jennifer Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) and they’ll be counted on for their veteran leadership. But so too will home-town favourites, including Surrey’s Sara Groenewegen.
Thanks to a provision that allows for the host country to include sports of cultural significance, softball will once again grace the Olympic stage at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. For Team Canada, currently ranked third in the world, this represents an opportunity to declare itself one of the best softball nations in the world.
Team Canada is coming off back-to-back bronze medal finishes at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championships in 2016 and 2018 – along with two consecutive Canada Cup International Softball Championships, held every year at Softball City in Surrey
The two teams who finished ahead of them in those tournaments – Japan and the United States – have already punched their tickets to Tokyo as the host nation and 2018 World Champions. Canada appeared in all four Olympic Games from 1996 to 2008, with a top finish of fourth in 2008.
If the Olympics are meant to showcase the best athletes in the world, softball’s permanent reintroduction into the Games is a no-brainer. The coordination, athleticism and talent demonstrated by these women is something to behold. And with some luck, Team Canada will put theirs on display in Tokyo.
Team Canada opens the tournament against team Cuba at 7:30 p.m. on opening night and play all its subsequent round-robin games in primetime at 6 p.m. The games will also be streamed live online at CBC.
This event will be historic and if you’re interested in being part of the Olympic journey, find ticket information at americassoftballqualifier.com